Earn Credit for What You Know

Not all learning happens in the classroom.


Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) recognizes that college-level learning can happen outside of a college classroom. We value your life experience by turning it into college credit that can be applied toward a certificate or degree.

If you have an industry-recognized credential, professional licensure, significant work experience, and/or complete an approved exam in a designated subject area, you may be eligible for college credit without taking a college course.  

Learn more about what your experience is worth, and save time and money to earn a certificate or degree. 

Contact the Gateway Enrollment Center for more information and to discuss your experience. 

Paramedic Students

Industry-Recognized Credentials

Some professions require employees to become certified or licensed. If you completed formal training that resulted in an industry-recognized credential, you may be eligible for college credit. COTC will need a copy of your professional license or certification and a form must be completed. The state of Ohio also has programs like the One-Year Option and ITAG. Learn more below.

Accepted certifications and licensure include, but are not limited to:

  • Chemical Dependence Counselor Assistant (CDCA) certification
  • CompTIA A+ certification
  • Cosmetology license
  • Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification

One-Year Option

The state of Ohio has a One-Year Option program that allows public colleges and universities to award licensed professionals college credit hours, to provide students an opportunity to complete an associate degree in half the time (typically “one year” – or less).

For example, students who complete a cosmetology program (900+ hours) and get a cosmetology license are eligible for 30 college credit hours (which is enough credit to be halfway done with an associate degree).

View the currently approved programs in the One-Year Option established by the state of Ohio.  

Students who apply to COTC and have a professional certification or license, will need to submit a copy of their current professional certification or license to be reviewed and awarded college credit.


The state of Ohio has developed an ITAG initiative that will award students college credit for learning the skills and knowledge in designated professions.

Students interested in attending COTC, may be eligible for college credit through ITAG if they have obtained certification or licensure in the following professions:

  • Practical Nursing (LPN)
  • Information Technology (IT)

To learn more about college credit that can be earned through the ITAG initiative, view the information specific to each profession.  

Girl sitting at table studying

Portfolio Assessment

Work experience and informal training that does not result in an industry-recognized credential (certification or licensure) may be evaluated for college credit through a portfolio review process. Students may be eligible for college credit due to things like: on-the-job training, business ownership, civic leadership, volunteer work or independent study.

It’s important to note, there will be portfolio instructions and expectations. Students will receive guidance from a Gateway Academic Advisor to complete a portfolio that showcases experience, skill(s) and knowledge. 

The first step in building a portfolio is to browse the COTC course catalog and identify courses you feel fit your experience, skill(s) and knowledge. Every course at COTC has objectives students meet to pass the course. A portfolio will show how you have enough proficiency to meet a course’s objectives, in lieu of taking a course.

Portfolios will need to include the following:


Students will need to provide a current resume outlining their professional work experience, skills and any learning they have done, in alignment with each course they seek to earn credit for. 


Students must write a personal essay explaining how and why they believe they have met the objectives of each course they seek to earn credit for.

Sample Work

Often our work speaks for itself. Portfolios can (and should) include sample work if available. This provides our portfolio reviewers more evidence of your knowledge and skill(s). 


Prior Learning


Students who successfully complete certain technical programs or classes, often at vocational schools or career centers, while in high school and/or after high school graduation are eligible to receive transfer credit at Ohio public colleges and universities. This transfer of credit is described by the State of Ohio Career-Technical Assurance Guides (CTAG)

Student sitting at computer

Credit by Examination

Students can choose to take or may have already taken select exams or tests that can qualify them for college credit without taking a college class.

Students should keep in mind there is typically a cost per exam, and each exam has a minimum or specific score that must be met to earn college credit.

Click each tab below to learn about exams and subject areas, along with minimum or specific scores Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) will review and accept.


High school students can choose to take or may have taken Advanced Placement (AP) courses. At the end of the AP course, an exam can be taken to determine whether college credit can be awarded for the completed course. Students must earn a minimum test score per subject to earn college credit. 

Students who complete an AP exam can request their test scores be sent to Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) through the College Board website. Some high schools will indicate AP test scores on a high school transcript. Students can check with their high school to see if they need to request an AP test score be sent to COTC.


The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) is available to any student and provides an opportunity for students to test out of entry level college courses in select subject areas. Military members may be eligible to take CLEP exams at no cost through their educational benefits. 

Review the COTC CLEP Exam Chart to learn what minimum test score is needed in which subject areas.

Students who complete a CLEP exam should request test score(s) be sent to COTC for review to be awarded credit. Test scores can be sent electronically from CLEP to COTC at cotcrecords@mail.cotc.edu


DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST) are available to any student and provide an opportunity for students to test out of entry level college courses. DANTES provides upfront funding of DSST test fees, for the first attempt on all exam titles, for eligible military members. Military members can visit a Department of Defense (DoD) webpage to review eligibility.  

Review the COTC DSST Exam Chart to learn what score is needed to earn college credit for select courses.

Students who complete a DSST exam should submit test score(s) to COTC for review to be awarded credit. Test scores be sent electronically from DSST to COTC at cotcrecords@mail.cotc.edu


International Baccalaureate (IB) exams can be taken to earn college credit.

COTC accepts IB scores in the subject areas of math and English. Review the IB Exam Chart to see which college-level math and English course COTC will award credit for based on a minimum IB exam score.

Students who have completed an IB exam should request test score(s) be sent to COTC for review to be awarded credit. Test scores can be sent from IB electronically to COTC at cotcrecords@mail.cotc.edu

Student Studying at table with laptop

Alternative Credit Options

Many people enjoy learning to enhance their knowledge and/or to expand upon an existing job or career. There are companies that offer learning and in line with the American Council on Education (ACE), many colleges across the United States recognize the level of learning being offered and completed is worthy of college credit. Examples of companies offering college-level learning include: Straighterline and Study.com.